NES Deal Completed, Avaya and Plantronics Tweak Their Relationship

Avaya’s acquisition of Nortel Enterprise Solutions closed last Friday. The deal creates about 6,000 new Avaya employees, including 25 top managers, according to Avaya.

It will, of course, be a while before it becomes clear whether the acquisition was a good idea. It looks like a natural marriage from a high-level perspective – but these deals usually do, or they wouldn’t be made in the first place. The details, such as which equipment lines survive and how the technology NES brings is integrated into the Avaya line, will be the key going forward.

There is a bit of good news already for Avaya, which said that it will retain about 500 more NES employees than it initially anticipated. CEO Kevin Kennedy was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the business “has held up better” than Avaya thought it would when it won the NES business with an auction bid of $915 million in September. The story doesn’t specify whether the unexpected strength is in the general enterprise environment or specific to one or both of the companies.

In a separate but related piece of news, Avaya and Plantronics have tweaked their relationship. The two companies are not exactly strangers to each other. Plantronics’ Vice President of Strategic Partnership Michael Gjerstad said that they have been working together since 1966, when Plantronics, which was founded five years earlier, struck its first deal with Avaya predecessor Western Electric.

Thus, the continued partnership has symbolic as well as practical significance as UC evolves and becomes a catchall category encompassing a larger share of an enterprise’s IT and telecommunications equipment and services. The deal features tight integration of Avaya APIs into Plantronics’ equipment. Plantronics, Gjerstad said, will begin self branding headsets.

The sense is that Avaya is set to make a move. “We are very excited about this,” Gjerstad said. “With Avaya’s Nortel acquisition, it will be an exciting time to be other there.”

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